Buildings in South Africa will now need this certificate – or face a R5 million fine and jail time

Owners of buildings in South Africa have exactly one year left to obtain and prominently display an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or risk a fine of R5 million, five years imprisonment or both.

The regulations were gazetted on 8 December 2020, and apply until 7 December 2022, meaning that building owners who have not yet acted have exactly a year left in which to comply.

They require that owners of four categories of buildings must obtain an EPC, which in general terms, gives a building a rating based on the amount of energy consumed per square metre.

The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi), which maintains an EPC register on behalf of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), has urged building owners to take all necessary steps to comply with EPC regulations, emphasising that compliance affords them, and the country a range of benefits.

Compliance with EPC regulations will enable building owners to identify where they could introduce energy efficiency measures that would, in turn, save them money and possibly increase the value of their buildings, said Sanedi’s general manager for energy efficiency, Barry Bredenkamp.

“An energy-efficient building is generally a better environment in which to work and is significantly less expensive to run, so an owner can potentially justify a higher price if they want to sell or impose a higher rental for office space,” explains Bredenkamp.

“The more energy-efficient buildings become, the more they will contribute to taking electricity demand off the national grid. This could help to ease load shedding, and by reducing carbon emissions, building owners will be helping our country to meet its international obligations to combat climate change.”

Who needs a certificate? 

The categories that currently need to comply are offices, entertainment facilities, educational institution buildings, and places of public assembly such as sporting facilities and community centres.

The regulations apply to government buildings of more than 1,000 sq metres and privately-owned buildings of more than 2,000 sq metres.

An accurate figure of the number of buildings covered by the regulations is not available but Bredenkamp said estimates vary between 150,000 and 250,000 buildings that need to comply with the regulations.

An EPC rates buildings on a scale of A to G in a similar way to how appliances are rated for their energy efficiency. A D-rating is the benchmark rating that is in line with the national building regulations. An EPC must be prominently displayed in the foyer of a building.

“The regulations do provide penalties for any particular rating lower than an A-rating, but the primary objective in obliging building owners to obtain EPCs is to make them aware of their energy consumption and encourage them to be more energy efficient if their EPC rating is poor,” said Bredenkamp.

“Buildings are responsible for between 30% and 40% of carbon emissions worldwide. EPC programmes are commonplace in many parts of the world and some cases even extend right down to the level of residential buildings, and they are one of many energy efficiency measures currently being implemented to drive down fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions worldwide.”

Bredenkamp added that the process of obtaining an EPC has significant job creation potential.

“An EPC must be issued by a South African National Accreditation System accredited inspection body. With many thousands of buildings to be rated, inspection bodies will almost certainly need to employ significant numbers of individuals to assist them in gathering the required data, measurements and related information, for their final review and sign-off.”

You can find more information on getting an EPC certificate here.


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Buildings in South Africa will now need this certificate – or face a R5 million fine and jail time